When I first started knitting many years ago, I never blocked my knitting. I know, I know, terrible rookie mistake. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, to block knitwear is to bring out a piece of knitwear’s pattern and design. While important for most knitwear, blocking is especially crucial for lacy designs found in shawls and fancy sweaters.
First Step: cold water soak
That’s pretty self-explanatory right? I soak my knitting in cold water (hot water could felt the yarn). I make sure the entire piece is soaked through by gently squeezing the knitting (don’t squeeze too much because, again, felting).
Step Two: stretch it out
Once I’ve unfurled my knitting, I begin gently shaping it. I lay it on a flat surface, usually my sewing area rug, and start to stretch it to bring out the pattern.
In this example, I had to pay particular attention to the back piece which is done in this dropped stitch openwork pattern. To bring out the pattern I stretched the piece both vertically and horizontally. You must be very careful to stretch in each direction proportionally. If you stretch in one direction more that the other you will warp the pattern.
When the piece is stretched to my liking, I pin it down to the rug using plain old sewing pins. This allows the piece to dry in place, securing the pattern. I let my knitting stay pinned to the run until it is dry, 1-3 days depending on the humidity and weather. Then I take the pins out and it is ready to wear!
(Don’t worry, I fixed the bottom pins after this picture was taken! Would not want it to be stretched like that!)
To all my knitters out there: how do you block knitwear? The same? Or is your process different?
A post about this particular piece, a late 1910s vest, is coming up soon!
Have you ready my last post? You can here!